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Groupwork & collaboration

Why can't we all just get along?

This is just one possible workflow to consider. Follow the tracks and click the stations for context and sources of help.

We're going to have to agree on things. There's no getting around it. You can't have three people pulling in one direction and one person pulling in the other. You need to work together. Somehow...
We're not all going to be as good as each other. Some of us might not even have as much time to dedicate on a project. But it's groupwork, and it's no good just one person doing all the hard work. How will you spread the workload? How will you measure a person's contribution? It's unlikely that all of you will put in as much labour as each other, so what constitutes "enough"?
Set expectations early. How much are people expected to contribute? What are they expected to contribute? What do you expect to have after those contributions?
What's the brief you've been set? What do you need to achieve? The first problem you've got is to agree on that!
Who's doing what? What talents do you have in the team? You don't all have to sit together at a computer, all hands on the same mouse. People can do what they're good at. But at the same time, don't rest on laurels. You're at university to learn stuff, after all. Give people a fair crack.
Who's doing what? What talents do you have in the team? You don't all have to sit together at a computer, all hands on the same mouse. People can do what they're good at. But at the same time, don't rest on laurels. You're at university to learn stuff, after all. Give people a fair crack.
How are you managing the project? Is there a manager? A chair to settle arguments? How are you going to keep the show on the road?
You'll need to set deadlines along the way if you're going to get things finished. What pace are you going to work at? How often will / can you meet? Does one of you need to finish one thing before another can start another?
You're going to need to find out some information. You're going to need to do some research...
You're going to need to find out some information. You're going to need to do some research...
If you're working collaboratively, it becomes all the more important to be able to manage and organise the information you've found.
There's no avoiding it: we're all going to have to do some hard work. All of us.
Many hands makes varied work. To unify the tone, it might need one of you to copy-edit and put the work into a single voice and style.
Many hands makes varied work. To unify the tone, it might need one of you to copy-edit and put the work into a single voice and style.
Individual work needs to be brought together into something everyone is happy with.
Who's the intended audience? What tone would be appropriate? Can you all match that tone?
Nearly there. You just need to proof-read. Check for any errors that may have crept in. The proof-reader should probably not be the same person as the copy-editor.
When all is done, take time to reflect, collectively and individually. What went well? What could be improved?
Set some principles. Lay some standards. Have some ideas about what you'll do if things go wrong, or if someone doesn't meet a deadline.
Where are you going to work? All in the same room, at the same time? Will you collaborate virtually? Will you meet up now and again to discuss things?
Can everyone be working on the same document at the same time, or is it just going to be chaos? Do you need to do discuss things before acting, or can you all just get stuck in with the tools you're using?
You're going to need to agree on a house style, and at least one of you is going to have to implement that style.
Lay out your plan. What are you going to produce? What are the means of production, and who controls them?
If you're working in the cloud, whose cloud? Do you know how it's working? If you're using cloud-based tools, are there safety or privacy considerations you need to consider?
If you're working together on a collaborative document, you all need to be able to see and edit that document. If it's being marked, then whoever's doing the marking is going to need to be able to see it too. How about anybody else? Think about what permissions you need to share.
  • What's\nthe aim?
  • Establish\nroles
  • Project\nmanagement
  • Time &\ntempo
  • Research
  • Hard\nwork
  • Finishing
  • \nCohesion
  • Proofing
  • \nReflection
  • Tone
  • Not all of us are superstars\n(measuring contribution)
  • Consensus
  • Expectations
  • Principles
  • Manifesto
  • Workspace
  • Reference\nmanagement
  • Practices &\nprocesses
  • The Cloud
  • Permissions\n& sharing
  • Styles